"It seems to me that to organize on the basis of feeding people or righting social injustice and all that is very valuable. But to rally people around the idea of modernism, modernity, or something is simply silly. I mean, I don't know what kind of a cause that is, to be up to date. I think it ultimately leads to fashion and snobbery and I'm against it."
Jack Levine: January 3, 1915 – November 8, 2010
"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." It will be his first act of perjury as president. * Though one suspects he'll be sworn in on a copy of The Art of the Deal.
The SHAME OF MAINE, the racist, lying scumbag, Republican-fascist "Trump before Trump" governor of Maine is again bringing shame to my state by lecturing John Lewis on the history of civil rights, claiming for the party which has made winning with racism one of its central pillars was .... well, here's what the lying scumbag, Paul LePage said:
"You know, I will just say this. John Lewis ought to look at history. It was Abraham Lincoln that freed the slaves. It was Rutherford B. Hayes and Ulysses S. Grant that fought against Jim Crow laws. A simple ‘thank you’ would suffice.”
As others have pointed out, Rutherford B. Hayes was the president who made a corrupt deal with the defeated Confederates to end the brief period when black people could vote in the former Confederacy, hold office and pursue equality. It was under Hayes that Jim Crow started and got cemented into place until the 1950s, it was Republicans who used Lyndon Johnson forcing through the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, to rally racists to join the Republican Party, by then the party of racism, reaction, and scum like Paul LePage.
For the flaming racist, asshole, Paul LePage to presume to lecture John Lewis on the history of Jim Crow which he struggled to end is one of the most repulsive things that piece of slime has done as governor and the SHAME OF MAINE.
There is no Party of Lincoln left, any Republicans like that left the party long ago. A "Party of Lincoln" wouldn't have such scum in it like LePage and McConnell and pretty much the entire Republican caucus in the Congress. It would not have elected the floridly racist Donald Trump. Now you've got phonies like Susan Collins - a LePage supporter - who will go along with the racist Trump agenda because she wants to be Governor of Maine and the Republicans will probably recruit a millionaire egomaniac to run a spoiler campaign to put the piece of crap in the governorship.
If you think I am pissed off over this, I am because I just got done hearing this story on the Maine media which has done so much to give us both LePage and who have sold Collins to the gullible Maine voters as a "moderate" of the kind that doesn't exist anymore.
A member of my family sent me a recent incident online of a guy who was going on and on about how he couldn't wait for them to repeal Obamacare. Someone asked him what he had against the ACA. He said he wasn't against the ACA he was against Obamacare. When it was pointed out that they were the same thing he said, Nuh-uh, I got ACA and it isn't Obamacare.
I suspect the racism the Republican-fascists used against a lot of people to sucker them into total control is going to blow up when they find out that inconvenient fact.
I don't doubt that the Republicans are going to kill it, either outright or by destroying it. They might listen to the health insurance industry and other industries which will face the financial disaster that doing either will cause, they might, after they have an election disaster, listen to the people they suckered, but they won't do the latter before they destroy it and throw thirty-million people off of health insurance. I think the resultant catastrophic failure to reimburse hospitals, emergency rooms, clinics, etc. will be a huge disaster but if there's one thing that Republicans have proven, beyond any possible denial, it is that they are willing to hurtle the country into a wall or off a cliff. Remember, they're going to get rid of the things put into place to keep the banksters from doing what they did less than a decade ago, too.
Will we pull out of it in the Age of Lies our best and brightest have brought us to? I don't know, I tend to doubt it. Look how fast the media lied Obama into a fatally weakened president - with his help - and on into the disaster they are trying to acclimate the TV addled American attention span to accepting, passively.
Will reality override their propaganda? It's hard to make bricks from the mud the media flings without the straw of truth and those who have to try to make it can't cut enough for the job. The lies elected Republicans over and over again and alleged liberals haven't even been brave enough to face the necessity of ending those. They think the best people won't think well of them if they do. I'm as disgusted with such "liberals" as I am with the people conservatives suckered. They're all cowards.
We were saved from outright, European style fascism by a rare combination of good luck and the residual wisdom of a decisive margin of the voters. I'm not confident that's there anymore after a generation has been brought up on the lies of the media. I hope I'm wrong but I don't think I am this morning.
I wasn't going to touch the story about Martin Luther King III meeting with Donald Trump, but changed my mind after reading what Charles Pierce said about it.
I am not a fan of the surviving children of Martin Luther King jr. I did have genuine admiration for the late Yolanda King in many ways but I think the present generation of the family seems to have done its best to tarnish and diminish the legacy of their father. The numerous legal actions and lawsuits among them and other King family members,friends and colleagues to try to get hold of property to turn it into cash is sad and at times pretty trashy but, far worse, is their holding his words for ransom, going after anyone who publishes them without pay and their permission first. His family has managed to do what racists during his lifetime couldn't do, silence him, diminish his influence to make change.
MLKIII meeting with Donald Trump to get his support for a pretty far-fetched idea of a national ID, supposedly to prevent voting fraud that doesn't exist OR to prevent an accusation of voting fraud that doesn't exist was regrettable. It lends Trump a credibility he doesn't deserve and which he won't earn by pushing Republicans to do such a thing. It was a free photo-op for the most overtly racist candidate to have won the presidency in more than a hundred years. John Lewis got it right, no one should lend Trump the credibility that he doesn't rightly possess and never will have.
King, 42, lamented what she called complacency and apathy among many Americans with regard to social issues. She exhorted the audience to service. "My father would be disturbed if he knew that people were taking the day off in his memory to do nothing," she said. "Get involved. It's about service, not shopping."
When someone like Donald Trump can co-opt The Reverend Martin Luther King jr. and there aren't any safely used words to counter him with from the man himself, it's clear his legacy has been jeopardized and eclipsed by the very people who should have most valued what he lived for. Way too many people who have worked to destroy the progress he fought and died for have used him and turned him into a tool of their racism and bigotry. I don't think it would be as easy for them to do it if his words had been freely available to represent the man.
If we're going to restore the legacy of the Civil Rights struggles of the 1950s-60s, we're going to have to do it without those words because we won't be able to afford to use them.
Peter Singer and his style of "Ethicist" prove that whenever someone wants to use Darwinism as a frame for an intellectual program that, eventually, the talk turns to who to kill. My point about Singer, who sells his advocacy of killing disabled people and infants with his vegetarianism and supposed animal rights advocacy, is just carrying on in the most vicious line of eugenics.
He is making the same arguments that the proto-Nazi Ernst Haeckle made in his Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte (English translation, History of Creation) which Darwin endorsed and promoted in The Descent of Man. Eventually, when the framing is Darwinism ranking individuals and entire ethnic or other groups, especially the disabled, on a scale of value will happen and the advocacy for killing them off will come not long after. "Moderate" eugenics which consisted of sterilizing people was no less a proposal for removing people from the future than what the Nazis did, it was genocide by other means.
That he had relatives who were murdered in the Nazi's eugenics program only adds to his depravity. I will point out that his utilitarianism also, eventually, especially when pushed, tends to move in the same direction.
If liberals fail to condemn that even as conservatives do, that it's certainly not anything to be proud of. It does nothing to falsify my point about the confusion that results from calling private-sector fascists liberals instead of the libertarians they are. That someone can advocate murdering people as an academic exercise in 2017 and it will get them the most desirable of academic appointments is a sign of depravity, not freedom. Update: If Duncan's "Brain Trust" (they really do call themselves that) can't be bothered to read what I said, I don't care what they stupidly prattle to each other about. Eschaton is just an example of what happens when the host of a blog gets lazy and runs a chat room for profit instead of thinking about things. Obviously, to guys like you it's a novel concept that when you read and look up citations instead of babbling about stuff without having done that, you're likely to come to other conclusions than ignorance is likely to produce. I prefer to increase the odds of getting it right over those of the proverbial broken clock. Late hate: I take back what I said about Derbes being one of the few there who aren't idiots. Apparently you can teach Physics at the elite Lab School without realizing that in order to know what someone said you have to read what they said. But, then, he was the one who claimed Inherit The Wind, a largely fictitious distortion of the Scopes Trial was historically accurate. Seems a grad degree in physics isn't everything.
I know I said yesterday was going to be the end of my answers to the Darwin fan club members who sent me hate mail over one of my old posts but re-reading some of my archive, I feel morally obligated to point out again that when Darwin, Haeckel, Huxley, et al. talk about Darwin's Natural Selection at work in the human population, they couldn't have been plainer that they meant stronger people killing weaker people as the main feature of that Natural Selection, the murderers would be the embodiment of the selective force whose ability to dominate and murder other people would be what rendered them superior or, in Darwin's sometimes favored adjective, "higher" and that their victims being dominated and murdered would be what rendered them "lower" or inferior.
As always, you don't need to and shouldn't take my word for it, read The Descent of Man, Haeckel's History of Creation (translated by one of Darwin's closest colleagues) and the rest of the primary material flowing from Darwin and into the further generations of conventional Darwinists up to, during, and after a brief hiatus of attempting to suppress that inconvenient truth lasting till about the mid 1970s, on to today. I mentioned Peter Singer* and his fellow "ethicists" - I would imagine most or all of them quite convinced Darwinists - who have turned "Ethics" into a thrilling and attention getting game of who it is who will be allowed to be killed and who gets to make that decision. Unsurprisingly, they seem to think it's they, in their superiority, who should determine that.
But why I am writing this, today, is that it is Martin Luther King Day and, after pointing out that the slaugher of Black Africans by the Belgians under Leopold II and the Germans in their pre-Nazi death camps in East Africa and in the assertions of that quintessential Darwinist (he gave the word "Darwinism" its current meaning), the man who Darwin, himself, appointed as his guard dog, Thomas Huxley asserted on Darwinian principles that the inferior freed Black Slaves were to be dominated and slaughtered by the superior white population. He said that infamously, callously, openly and without any room for any kind of misunderstanding. Darwinism, as articulated by him, by his approved interpreters and others, in that and generations down to today, has been a bulwark of the very racism that Martin Luther King jr. struggled against and which we are in full blown regression to with the election of the massively racist Donald Trump, the Senate in the control of Mitch McConnell and the neo-confederates, the House in control by the Ayn Randian psychotic Paul Ryan and the Supreme Court about to be re-tilted in favor of their racist, fascist policies through McConnell and the Republican-fascist party making Barack Obama into an incomplete president through denying his Supreme Court nomination to even get a hearing.
The very conditions set into effect in the wake of the civil war, the violent oppression, domination and terror campaign against Black people in the United States are coming back, I can see no reason to believe they won't be at least as bad as some of the periods before Martin Luther King jr. preached his first sermon against racism. When Thomas Huxley wrote of the eventual killing of freed Black slaves in his infamous essay, when Charles Darwin blithely anticipated the extinction of entire races which he certainly knew his readers realized were Black people, what has turned into an epidemic of black killings. the destruction of black people through drug pushing, the promotion of alcohol, the promotion of racist stereotypes were what that destruction of what they claimed with the mantle of scientific reliability were inferior people was exactly what they meant.
The word "liberalism" has had dual and largely antonymic meanings. It means, as Marilynne Robinson and others have pointed out, either the moral obligation to provide the least among us with the means of a decent, dignified life or it means merely having a government which will not intervene in the economy so those who can rig it for themselves can rise and those who can't will fall. I think the real meaning of that latter, 18th century secular liberalism would mean that it should be called "private sector fascism" because that will be the result of it. That is how so many "liberals" in the 18th century meaning of the word, how many of those "enlightenment" heroes of that time and onward could be slave holders while claiming that "all men are created equal", opponents of women's rights, full blown racists and even advocates of genocide of those they deemed inferior. Jefferson, Voltaire, Hume, pretty much the biographical dictionary of heroes of areligious liberalism, when investigated, fit that description (including Peter Singer's Darwin - read the article linked to in the footnotes). I think it's what made the drift of so many "leftists" to neo-conservatism so easy, what made it possible for the late Nat Hentoff to migrate from the Village Voice to the Cato Institute.
Liberalism has paid with its life for the suppression of the original liberalism based on the Mosaic Laws of economic justice in favor of private-sector fascism. Liberalism will never be revived until it faces the existential impossibility of both being contained in the one entity. Either that 18th century atheist definition of "liberalism" or actual liberalism will exit. Considering that real liberalism and everything it brings with it, including absolute equality, is far harder than its depraved counterpart, it will be far harder to revive it. The greatest thing in its favor is that it is egalitarian, far more people have a real stake in its success than the majority which will be suppressed, oppressed, robbed and murdered by private-sector fascism.
Martin Luther King jr. was a radical advocate of American liberalism, a radical egalitarian calling for equal, radical economic justice. He was not and is not not the property of any one race, he was a quintessential Christian egalitarian universalist, he rejected inequality, he died, giving his life in a struggle for justice for trash men. He died for equal justice and the dignity of some of the least among us. He, in every way, stood against the Darwinian idea of survival of the fittest. He did so because he, as all real Christians, took the equality, the radical egalitarian content of the Hebrew scriptures to be the very word of God, the very commandment of God (again, see below) that Peter Singer condescendingly says Christians will have to give up because "Darwin".
You can't reconcile the two views of human beings, you can't square Darwinian inequality -without which natural selection can't be real - with the radical equality of Martin Luther King jr. and the Hebrew scriptures. Liberals have to decide which they will believe. If they choose against MLK jr. liberalism will die, as it largely has.
* I will point out that in so far as it was their disagreement about vivisection that gave Darwin his excuse to break with Frances Cobbe, the celebrity animal rights-infanticide proponent, Peter Singer's claims about Darwin, such as in this article, lead me to believe he doesn't have the first clue as to what he's talking about. Either he never read much of Darwin, in full, or he's had that extremely common and so convenient amnesia endemic to the academic class as to what he read him saying or he's flat out lying about it.
It is amazing to me that someone who gets hired by places like Princeton and invited to universities to give highly touted lectures could say what he says here:
Singer also argues that Darwinism has a destructive effect, in that if you accept it, certain other positions are fatally undermined. For example, the idea that God gave Adam, and by proxy, us, dominion over the animal kingdom is a view "thoroughly refuted by the theory of evolution." I was unsure that those victories are always so straightforward. For example, there are, presumably, many Christians who don’t buy the Adam and Eve creation myth as literal truth. Nevertheless, can’t they live with Darwinism and have their ethics? "I don’t think Darwinism is incompatible with any Christian ethic," Singer is happy to allow, "except a really fundamentalist one that takes Genesis literally. And it’s not even incompatible strictly with the divine command theory, it just means the divine command theory is based on all sorts of hypotheses which you don’t need because you’ve got other explanations." So how is the divine command theory undermined by evolution? Couldn’t the Christian, for example, say, yes, evolution is how man came to be, but given there is an is/ought gap, can’t the ethical commands come from on high, as it were? "Entirely possible. I was just saying that a lot of the impetus for a divine command theory comes from the question ‘where could ethics come from?’. It’s something totally different, out of this world, so therefore you have to assume we’re talking about the will of God or something. Once you have a Darwinian understanding of how ethics can emerge, you absolutely don’t have to assume that, but it’s still possible to assume it. It’s really the ‘I have no need of the hypothesis’ rather than ‘that hypothesis is hereby refuted’."
Not only does that contradict what Darwin said in just about every aspect, it flies in the face of the further use of his theory of natural selection as articulated by him, by his closest colleagues, friends and family members and, in fact, the entire line of Darwinists as mentioned in the first paragraph above. It would seem that the Darwinism of Singers' "Darwinian Ethics" would be the post-war Darwin myth which can have everything every which way depending on what is needed for the "Ethicist" to make whatever assertion they want to.
Peter Singer is an intellectual fraud. Update: I am putting this in bold because it is essential to my point that the radical egalitarian content of The Law of Moses INCLUDED THE FOREIGNER, THE STRANGER THE "OTHER" LIVING AMONG US in its economic justice. In the words of Leviticus, repeated by Hillel and made even more radical by Jesus, we were to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. There is no more radically anti-Darwinian holding than that. Unless it is the articulation of it by Jesus that what we do to the least among us we do to God and that we are to love each other as Jesus loved his apostles. No matter how latter day Darwinists such as Dawkins, Hartung and Macdonald lie about it, The Law was a radical extension of economic and social justice far beyond the Israelites. The extension of that equality in Christianity continues to include all people. Any "Christians" fail as Christians in so far as they don't practice that most basic commandment. It could not be more the opposite of what was invented by Darwin as Natural Selection.
This is going to be the last answer I give in this go-round with the St. Darwin industry. We have a fascist about to be made president and that is what I'm going to concentrate on.
Everything I pointed out about the depravity of Darwin's writing and that of his inner circle and those claiming Darwinism as the reason for advocating the murders lots of people was known to Darwin during his lifetime, Charles Darwin mentioned the criticism of that aspect of his theory in The Descent of Man with condescending dismissal. We know that Darwin knew about it because the Victorian intellectual, feminist and political activist, Frances Cobbe, one of his more exigent early critics, who criticized the moral depravity of Darwinism, NOT THAT IT CONTRADICTED GENESIS, was an acquaintance of Charles and Emma Darwin. They knew each other before she wrote her essay, Darwinism in Morals, which she sent to Darwin before she published it. Reading it now it's clear that she foresaw the depravity essential to the idea that human progress would come through the deaths of large numbers of people, that would soon be confirmed in The Descent of Man.
Seeing the applications of Darwinism as law in the United States and Canada, other places and in the most literal application of its scientific declarations, in the Third Reich, Frances Cobbe it is undeniable - if you're honest about it - that her prediction was correct.
Let me say it at once. These doctrines appear to me simply the most dangerous which have ever been set forth since the days of Mandeville..... I cannot but believe that in the hour of their triumph would be sounded the knell of the virtue of mankind.
You can hear that knell continuing in the writings advocating the un-personing and murders of such unpersons, by so many genteel and eminent members of that most curiously named profession, "Ethicists", today. I mentioned last week that Peter Singer wants to make "ethics" a branch of Darwinism.
You can read the earlier echos of that warning in the study that the eminent biologist and quite conventional Darwinist, Vernon Kellogg made of German officers he talked to during the First World War, explicitly giving as the reason of the pre-Nazi beliefs of those officers as "social Darwinism", many of whom were trained in science, one of them known to him as a student of biology during Kellogg's own years at the university. Only what even by that time came to be called Social Darwinism is exactly the same thing that Darwin, himself claimed over and over again. Since I wrote that reading about the now largely forgotten practice run of the kind of death camp the Nazis ran, the German slaughter of Africans a decade before World War One was, not only explained in terms of Darwinism but which brought one of the main Nazi race theorists, Eugen Fischer, his scientific renown through his scientific use of the inmates of that death camp, sending parts of those "freshly dead" to his scientific colleagues for their study. Concentrating the argument and attention on murders of Europeans in Europe in 1939-1945 renders the full depravity of that and pretending that it was unrelated to earlier atrocities and their intellectual foundations in biological sciences.
If you want you can read my post about Kellogg and the earlier genocide linked to above. Instead of rewriting what I already did about Frances Cobbe's critique that Darwin, himself, dismissed, making it undeniable that he knew what she said, I'll just repost that piece.
The Offenses of "Miss Cobbe" And Darwin's Condescension
I have tried to look up all of Darwin's citations in the passages I've used here, some of them have been harder to find than others, as my post a week ago Saturday pointed out. I decided to see if I could find "Miss Cobbe's" essay that so annoyed Darwin that he did what he so seldom did, cite a woman. I found it, thanks to Google Books, Darwinism in Morals and Other Essays by Frances Power Cobbe, a quite radical and early Anglo-Irish feminist and social reformer. The essay was written in the florid Victorian style but it was far better written than a lot of the other things I've read from the same era by more respected writers - such as all of those anthropologists etc. I poured through last week.
Reading it I was also struck at how it read like Haeckel or Thomas Huxley or a number of other, later Darwinists only, whereas they approved of the same consequences of believing what Darwin said, Cobbe foresaw the depravity that would logically follow from believing it.
Here's part of what she said.
It must be admitted that these two doctrines between them effectively revolutionize morals, as they have been hitherto commonly understood. The first dethrones the moral sense from that place of mysterious supremacy which Butler considered its grand characteristic. Mr Darwin's moral sense is simply an instinct originated, like a dozen others, by the conditions under which we live, but which happens, in the struggle for existence among all our instincts, to resume the upper hand, when no other chances to be in the ascendent. And the second theory aims a still more deadly blow at ethics, by affirming that not only has our moral sense come to us by a source commanding no special respect, but that it answers to no external or durable, not to say universal or eternal, reality, and is merely tentative and provisional, – the provincial prejudice, that we may describe it, of this little world ad its temporary inhabitants, which would be looked on with a smile of derision by better informed people now living on Mars, or hereafter to be developed on earth, and who, in their turn, may be considered as walking in a vain shadow by other races.
I'll pause here to say that I'm certain Cobbe was very used to being looked on with such smiles of derision by "better informed people." I'm sure as a woman, a feminist, a social reformer, she had frequently experienced such smiles of derision of the kind you have to sense Darwin gave her in his debunkery effort. Instead of Montesquieu''s grand aphorism “La justice est un rapport de convenance, qui se trouve réellement entre deux choses; ce rapport est toujours le même; quelque être qui le considère, soit que ce soit Dieu, soit que ce soit un Ange, ou enfin que ce soit un homme” Mr. Darwin will leave us only the sad assurance that our idea of justice is all our own, and may mean nothing to any other intelligent being in the universe. It is not even, as Dean Mansel has told us, given us by our Creator as a representative truth, intended at least to indicate some actual transcendent verity behind it. We have now neither veil nor revelation, but only an earth-born instinct, carrying with it no authority whatever beyond the limits of our race and special social state, nor within them further than we choose to permit it to weigh on our minds. Let me say it at once. These doctrines appear to me simply the most dangerous which have ever been set forth since the days of Mandeville. Of course, if science can really show good cause for accepting them, their consequences must be frankly faced. But it is at least fitting to come to an examination of them, conscious that we are criticizing no ordinary problems, but theories whose validity must involve the invalidity of all the sanctions which morality has hitherto received from powers beyond those of the penal laws. As a matter of practice, no doubt men act in nine cases out of ten with very small regard to their theories of ethics, even when they are thoughtful enough to have grasped any theory at all; and generations might elapse after the universal acceptance of these new views by philosophers before they would sensibly influence the conduct of the masses of mankind. But, however slowly they might work, I cannot but believe that in the hour of their triumph would be sounded the knell of the virtue of mankind. It has been hard enough for tempted men and women heretofore to be honest, true, unselfish, chaste, or sober, while passion was clamoring for gratification or want pining for relief. The strength of the fulcrum on which has rested the virtue of many a martyr and saint must have been vast as the law of the universe could make it. But where will that fulcrum be found hereafter, if men consciously recognize that what they have gleaned to be “The unwritten law divine, Immutable, eternal, not like those of yesterday, But made ere Time began,” Sophecles: Antigone The law by which “the most ancient heavens are fresh and strong,” – is, in truth, after all, neither durable nor even general among intelligent beings, but simply consists of those rules of conduct which, among many that might have been adopted, have proved themselves on experiment to be most convenient; and which in the lapse of ages, through hereditary transmission, legislation, education, and such methods, have got woven into the texture of our brains? What will be the power of such a law as this to enable it to contend for mastery in the soul with any passion capable of rousing the languid impulse? Hitherto, good men have looked on repentance as the most sacred of all sentiments, and have measured the nearness of the soul to God by the depth of its sense of the shame and heinousness of sin. The boldest of criminals have betrayed at intervals their terror of the Erinnyes or remorse, against those scourges all religions have presented themselves as protectors, with their devices of expiations, sacrifices, penances, and atonements. From Orestes at the foot of the altar of Phoebus to the Anglican in his new confessional today; from the Aztec eating the heart of the victim slain in propitaion for sin to the Hindu obeying the law of Menu, and voluntarily starving himself to death as expiation of his offenses, – history bears testimony again and again to the power of this tremendous sentiment and, if it have driven mankind into numberless superstitions, it has, beyond a doubt, also served as a threat more effective against crime than all the penalties ever enacted by legislators. But where is repentance to find place hereafter, if Mr. Darwin's view of its nature be received? Will any man allow himself to attend to the reproaches of conscience, and bow his head to her rebukes, when he clearly understands that it is only his more durable social instinct which is reasserting itself, because the more variable instinct which has cause him to disregard it is temporarily asleep? Such a physiology of repentance reduces its claims on our attention to the level of those of our bodily wants; and our grief for a past crime assumes the same aspect as our regret that we yesterday unadvisedly preferred the temporary enjoyment of conversation to the permanent benefit of a long night's rest, or the flavor of an indigestible dish to the wholesomeness of our habitual foo. We may regret our imprudence, but it is quite impossible we should ever again feel penitence for a sin.
You can read the passages from Galton, Haeckel, Huxley, and especially the next generation or two dealing with morality and see that she came to pretty much the same conclusions they did about the consequences of Darwin's natural selection and far earlier than most of them. Only, whereas the Darwinists thought the destruction of the basis of morality was wonderful, she didn't. Her great offense to Darwin wasn't in what she warned would happen, he already approve of books and other writings by authors who spelled that out in quite awful detail. Her offense is in that she didn't think it was a good idea and said so in a quite coherent, quite informed essay. Or maybe it was that she was a woman while saying it. I don't think I was imagining very hard when I sensed a sneer in the way Darwin called her "Miss Cobbe".
Frances Cobbe seems to me to have been a quite intelligent person. Before she wrote her essay she did what I've noted Darwin's contemporary fans have not done, read him. And she clearly informed herself as to what its implications were. And not only Darwin, but many of those in his circle and other figures in science that I'd guess few of Darwin's lay readers have bothered to look at.
Mr. Wallace, in his contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection, appears to me to sum up this argument admirably. After explaing how very inadequate are the Utilitarians' sanctions for truthfulness, and observing how many savages yet make veracity a point of honor, he says: “It is difficult to conceive that such an intense and mystical feeling of right and wrong (so intense as to overcome all ideas of personal advantage or utility) could have been developed out of accumulate ancestral experiences of utility, but still more difficult to understand how feelings developed by one set of utilities could be transferred to acts of which the utility was partial, imaginary, or absent,” – or (as he might justly have added) so remote as to be quite beyond the ken of uncivilized of semi-civilized man. It is no doubt a fact that, in the long run, truthfulness contributes more than lying to the greatest happiness of the greatest number. But to discover that fact needs a philosopher, not a savage. Other virtues, such as that for the weak an age, seem still less capable, as Mr. Mivart has admirably shown of being evolved out of a sense of utility, seeing that savages and animals find it much the most useful practice to kill and devour such sufferers; and, by the law of the survival of the fittest, all nature below civilized man is arrange on the plan of so doing. Mr. W. R. Gregs very clever paper in Fraser's Magazine, pointing out how natural selection fails in the case of man in consequences of our feelings of pity for the weak, affords incidentally the best possible proof that human society is based on an element which has no counterpart in the utility which rules the animal world.
Of course, Cobbe was writing in the later half of the 19th century and had some ideas we don't generally have and her style isn't modern but, compared to Darwin and his circle, she can seem quite enlightened and, more importantly, aware of likely practical outcomes in real life. One of her most noted writings were attacks on laws that allowed husbands to torture their wives, she frankly called it wife torture instead of the euphemisms common then and now. She was also an anti-vivisectionist, writing a book in which she detailed, in horrifying particularity, the abominably inhumane treatment of animals in the hands of 19th century science. She had no illusions about what people relieved of moral consideration were capable of doing. As she shows in her essay, no doubt informed by her knowledge of what the law could allow by way of the stronger exercising dominance and violence against weaker people, she had a clear eyed skepticism that it was sufficient to keep men from being depraved.
The things she read from Darwin and his closest followers were not only claiming some of those things were a social benefit for the survivors but the way of nature, arguing that moral teachings intended to try to lessen the frequency of them were mere illusions, the epiphenomena of evolution with no foundation within themselves. That was something she got from reading what was being said, not out of any ignorance.
Her predictions of what would come about if Darwin's ideas on morals became generally held are borne out by subsequent history. That prediction is something she shares with William Jennings Bryan, only she was writing more than a half-century earlier than he was. Darwin's dismissal of her, which I pointed out in my post yesterday, is absurd, given what he was saying in the book, proven to be so by what happened when a society was ruled by Darwinian precepts. Even today, the ultra-Darwinist, Richard Dawkins, has had to downplay the societal consequences of Darwinian amorality, explicitly saying that a society ruled by Darwinian principles would be a horrible place to live in, that he wouldn't want to live in one and that we don't have to*. You can contrast that with what Darwin and many of his disciples, even today, say about the inevitability of natural selection, its inescapable nature overriding human reason and morality. That is the basis of eugenics. Only, as Cobbe also showed, Dawkins' kind of utilitarian lite means of avoiding that is entirely inadequate. Given her predictive abilities and insight gained, no doubt, by her fully facing a more nearly Darwinian-Malthusian society, I'd trust her on that point over Dawkins.
Frances Power Cobbe wasn't your stereotypical Victorian prude. She was a feminist and, apparently, a lesbian who considered herself to be married to another sufferage activist, Mary Lloyd. The extent to which their relationship was a physical one was, apparently, kept private between the two of them but, if you followed that last link, you will see their marriage was openly known AND you will read that she knew Charles Darwin. I haven't been able to look at primary documents but other things I've read said that she met the Darwins and Emma, Charles' wife was quite taken with her. Another thing I read said that Charles Darwin broke with her when Cobbe published an excerpt** from a letter he had sent her without his permission. I don't know what that letter concerned, her suffrage, anti-vivisection or other activities. Or if it dealt with natural selection. The extent to which Darwin might have seen her marriage with Lloyd as sexual, of her as being a lesbian would be interesting to know. Despite all of the things he wrote about sex, in his letters Darwin comes off as pretty prudish about sex, preferring the prospects of bloody struggle to birth control because if women could have sex without worrying about pregnancy they might enjoy it and become promiscuous, more about that next week.
What I've read of her writings the past two weeks, "Miss Cobbe" was anything but an insignificant and ignorant critic of Darwin. She obviously read and understood the background material quite comprehensively, at least what was available in English. It's a kind of scholarship she brought to her other critical writing, even on the topic of religion, in which she also seems to have been anything but conservative. She was not troubled by the idea of evolution, early in her essay, she shows she is informed and the idea doesn't seem to much bother her. She, unlike many scientists, took the experience and suffering of animals seriously. That would indicate that she saw real and significant bonds between human beings and other animals. She did have the strongest problem with the idea of natural selection as a prescription for human behavior and the destruction of morality that Darwin's strongest supporters, those whose understanding of him, he confirms, were already promulgating. Since Darwin knew her and she was famously outspoken, he must have realized she was not an ignorant or superficial critic. His dismissal was, I'd have to say, him exercising his male privilege because he had no real answer to her arguments. He couldn't because she could cite him and his closest circle to refute them. And he would have known that, which is why he had to try to make her seem ridiculous or insignificant.
Note: The issue of women according to Darwinism is one that could fill another series. I haven't dealt with it here but I have read some of the contemporary criticism of Darwin's theory regarding women, all of that from women. I may get around to writing on that in the future.
* I am very comfortable with the idea that we can override biology with free will. Indeed, I encourage people all the time to do it. Much of the message of my first book, "The Selfish Gene," was that we must understand what it means to be a gene machine, what it means to be programmed by genes, so that we are better equipped to escape, so that we are better equipped to use our big brains, use our conscience intelligence, to depart from the dictates of the selfish genes and to build for ourselves a new kind of life which as far as I am concerned the more un-Darwinian it is the better, because the Darwinian world in which our ancestors were selected is a very unpleasant world. Nature really is red in tooth and claw. And when we sit down together to argue out and discuss and decide upon how we want to run our societies, I think we should hold up Darwinism as an awful warning for how we should not organize our societies. ** I would be interested if anyone has looked at Darwin's practice in citing other peoples' letters were. He seems to have had no problem doing so in private correspondence, I doubt that he always sought permission to do so, and not in full. His son, Francis, in publishing his father's letters after his death, did what Cobbe apparently did.
Update: Rereading this, Cobbe's analysis of Greg's article, subverting his eugenics argument to point out the inadequacy of the theory of natural selection to explain human society, was rather ingenious. It is gratifying to see her getting a bit of hers back in her description of it. Or at least that's how it feels, having read Greg's article in all its pretty disgusting, bigoted contortions. Her having lived in Ireland and, having seen the famine's results more closely than Greg or Darwin had, I can only imagine what she must have thought of their bigotry on that point.
Update 2: I found this, containing some of what Frances Cobbe had to say about her relationship with Darwin. According to her it was Darwin's and her disagreement over vivisection that led to their falling out. She specifically notes that she sent her review to Darwin for review and posts some of his response. Considering how he characterized it in his book, I'm surprised they didn't fall out of that.
Being trapped in the car with someone listening to it for the past hour, it's obvious that there is no Republican-fascist so vile, so obviously illegitimate that NPR and the majority of the unrestrained, unregulated press wouldn't be falling over each other to go down on bended knee to them and propping up the foulest they could do. I remember noticing that difference in coverage between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, it is far worse today.
Really, the best thing that could be done with NPR would be to close it down, "educational radio" was better before NPR spread its hegemony over it to become what it has today.
If there is one thing that we now know it is that unregulated, unrestrained, media given a carte blanche to lie to serve its own interests, the interests of its owners or financial backers will not only fail to serve democracy, it will undermine it in the interest of its profits and those of its backers.
NPR should have died more than thirty years ago during the financial crisis brought on by mismanagement in the early 80s. Liberals were such suckers for them, bailing them out even as they were selling us out.
Ray Emmet Brown
It's too bad I had to guess at some of the spellings and I'm not even going to try to list the characters. It's one of the things about radio drama, till the end I didn't realize that the actors were using theater accents. I have no way to know how authentic they are but I imagine Leila Aboulela participated in the production. The part when they get to the museum seems to me to be appropriate considering the posts I did yesterday and today.
This little article says that David Tennant and Catherine Tate preferred making the radio versions of Dr. Who to the visual version. It's interesting to consider how much easier it must be to make a radio version because, as Tate said, "You zip through it because you haven’t got to worry about camera angles, and lighting and make up, and all these things,am I on my mark? You just use the words and your voice." Sounds like making music.
Lelia Aboulela is an author I'd never heard of before. This review leads me to hope to read some of her writing, someday.
Update: I found Lelia Aboulela's personal website, with some of her writing on it. Haven't read any of it yet but I certainly will.
Thanks to RMJ for pointing me to the statement of John Lewis that says that Donald Trump is not a legitimate president of the United States. In the Huffington Post piece about the interview with Chuck Todd, Representative Lewis said:
“I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president,” Lewis told Chuck Todd, host of NBC’s “Meet The Press.” “I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected and they have destroyed the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.” Lewis added that he believes there was a conspiracy “on the part of the Russians and others” to help Trump get elected. “That’s not right, that’s not fair, that’s not the open democratic process,” he said. That is a truth that cannot be stated more clearly and it is a truth which will have the most devastating consequences for this country. It is a truth that points out so much about how seriously wrong this country has gone since the Supreme Court under Republican leadership has been dismantling the Voting Rights Act.
Through those states where Republican governors and legislators have been implementing what is obviously racially, ethnically and other means of suppressing the votes of groups that tend to favor Democrats they have given the dictator of Russia more of a voice in choosing the president of the United States than citizens of this country have. The director of the FBI and may of his agents have aided in the effort John Lewis talked about as has much of the American media.
Either you believe that the declarations basic to the establishment of this country are really true and of actual meaning or you don't. You either believe that democracy is based on true and consequential foundations of it is a sham. If you believe, as the Declaration of Independence said, that
"Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,"
which can only mean the honestly informed consent for that to mean anything, you either really, truly believe that or you don't. John Lewis, in his long life of service to American democracy, in making his statement endorsed and called into effect the next statement:
"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it,"
Lacking the power to abolish it, John Lewis has both the credibility and the power derived from those truths held to be self-evident in our founding document, to declare the Trump presidency is, by the terms set out in that document, illegitimate.
The warnings contained in that paragraph of the Declaration will, I'm afraid, become more evidently true though hard experience.
"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
How much more obvious than having the Constitution that followed that, allowing the installation of a president, with a minority of the popular vote, with the decisive help of foreign dictators, as interpreted by Republican Courts and also aided by a baldly partisan Republican director of the FBI meets all of the requirements of an illegitimate government, such as the universally touted Founders gave as their reason to abolish their ties with Britain.
Jimmy and Rosalind Carter, Hillary and Bill Clinton should change their mind and not go to the inauguration. John Lewis is right to not go and pretend this is a legitimate inauguration of a legitimate president.
Yes, I guess I am accusing the four authors of that paper, Does Science Education Need the History of Science?, Graeme Gooday, John M. Lynch, Kenneth G. Wilson, and Constance K. Barsky of either complete incompetence or outright lying. If it is the first they were incompetent to make their arguments by not having read The Descent of Man, other writings of Charles Darwin in which he explicitly states, endorses and promotes the idea of the deaths of individuals and even entire ethnic groups, through violence, even, as beneficial for the murdering survivors. No one who read him on that topic could possibly miss those claims made in that book and elsewhere by Charles Darwin, doing so on the basis of his theory of Natural Selection. They also would have had to be incompetent through their not checking his many glowing citations of Ernst Haeckel who, even more explicitly, made the same arguments, cited by Darwin in Descent of Man, and other Germans who were either in contact with Darwin or who it is known - BY HIS OWN CITATIONS - that Darwin read. I still believe he invented a citation of Hermann Schaaffhausen, claiming him in support of the idea that the extinction of a large number of human groups - certainly in the minds of Darwin's Victorian readers, groups of dark skinned people - would be a boon for the survivors. I have had the challenge out for several years, for someone to point out what Schaaffhausen said that constitutes that infamous citation in The Descent of Man and no one has been able to refute my conclusion that Darwin made it up.
Either those four scholars, published in the reviewed journal Focus-ISIS 99:2 (2008) were ignorant of the very material that constitutes the basis of any argument for the relationship of Darwinism to the particularly murderous Nazi eugenics- indeed all of eugenics - or they would have had to be lying about what they knew. They would certainly have had to be ignorant of his short correspondence with the eugenicist and advocate of birth-control G. A. Gaskell in which Gaskell proves he has understood what Darwin said in The Descent of Man and points out that the only alternative to birth control for those they both deemed a threat to the human species through their having children was their violent destruction as explicitly stated by Darwin and Haeckel in passages Darwin cited.
The weak in body or mind may be cared for and protected so long as they conform to the social mandate not to continue their race. They may, to use Professor Mantegazza's* words, "love, but must not have offspring." In conclusion, I submit, the birth of the fittest offers a much milder solution of the population difficulty, than the survival of the fittest and the destruction of the weak.
Even with that explicitly being pointed out to him, Darwin not only rejected birth control because he believed it would lead to women enjoying sex outside of marriage, he also explicitly articulated essentially the idea that the future of the world belonged to the biologically superior Brits and those closely related to them.
Suppose that such checks had been in action during the last two or three centuries, or even for a shorter time in Britain, what a difference it would have made in the world, when we consider America, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa ! No words can exaggerate the importance, in my opinion, of our colonization for the future history of the world. If it were universally known that the birth of children could be prevented, and this was not thought immoral by married persons, would there not be great danger of extreme profligacy amongst unmarried women, and might we not become like to "arreois" societies in the Pacific? In the course of a century, France will tell us the result in many ways. We can already see that the French nation does not spread or increase much.
Those who have read what he had to say in Descent of Man about such things as the extermination by the British of the inhabitants of Tasmania and other islands and even continents, it is inescapable that he was saying he was in favor of the white Brits wiping out entire ethnic groups through violence instead of even doing it by preventing them from having children. How exactly that is supposed to differ from the Nazi idea of Lebensraum, versions of which were already, by that time, circulating among German speaking Darwinists, using arguments derived from Natural Selection, would have to be based on the fact that Darwin's succeeding populations would speak English instead of German. Otherwise, it's essentially the same claim. He would, apparently, exclude the French who were insufficiently imperialistic to suit him. I would suspect that Belgium under Leopold II in central Africa would be more in line with his idea of biological progress, though perhaps not, since they spoke French as they murdered millions. How the crimes of the Belgians in Africa would differ from what Darwin explicitly envisioned as a mechanism of biological progress for the human species is something I'd love to hear his apologists explain.
That the claims made in that paper could be made by four academics at credible universities and could pass peer review is, to me, incredible. That is especially true if they had read those two papers by Richard Weikart that I cited yesterday, both of which were written before that article was written. To conflate his work with the controversy over Haeckel's embryo picture is an act of either complete ignorance of Weikart's writing or outright misrepresentation of it. Weikart may have provided me with reasons to disagree with him but it's not on the basis of his scholarship in his own area of expertise. Though that area which he has chosen was bound to earn him that kind of dishonest misrepresentation because the Darwin constructed after the crimes of the Nazis were revealed is a widely agreed to fraud which has become a required article of faith among the academic community.
You don't have to be a creationist* to not lie about what Darwin, Haeckel, Muller, Fick, Ploetz, Shallmeyer, Fischer, Lenz, etc. said. You can be someone who accepts the reality of evolution, though, as I have found, the more I read about it, not necessarily believing that Natural Selection is a particularly good explanation of how evolution happened. I started out reading about this more than a decade ago convinced of the reality of Natural Selection, I don't even believe it exits, now. Whatever explanations there are for the enormous phenomenon we define as being evolution, I doubt there will ever be one real overriding "thing" that will explain it. While I disagree with Karl Marx on much, almost everything, in fact, I do agree with his observation that, though he deemed it useful for promoting materialism, what Darwin had done is impose the British class system as a law of nature.
* Note: I think it's really unfortunate that the idea of "intelligent design" has been conflated with Creationism. You can be totally convinced of the reality of evolution while believing in intelligent design, The entirely conventional believer in evolution and natural selection, Theodosius Dobzhansky, with credentials as good as any, declared
It is wrong to hold creation and evolution as mutually exclusive alternatives. I am a creationist and an evolutionist. Evolution is God's, or Nature's method of creation. Creation is not an event that happened in 4004 BC; it is a process that began some 10 billion years ago and is still under way.
The conflation of that belief with the naive faith in the literal truth of the King James translation of the beginning of Genesis isn't especially honest or useful, except to those who want to make science into an ideological weapon of atheism.
I got into this for other reasons, I've gone into that over and over again. I started looking for the refutation that Darwin would have provided to show he was not responsible for eugenics and found, immediately upon reading what he said on the topic, that article of faith I'd been sold during my entire education was a flat out and obvious lie. That it was a lie became more obvious the more I followed up on Darwin's citations in The Descent of Man and began reading entire letters in his correspondence instead of the Darwin industry cherry-picked and distorted excerpts. The fact that Darwin was in eugenics of the worst sort up to the top of his head and over was confirmed by what his children, his friends and associates said about him and his thinking, it was confirmed by the arguments made by eugenicists in English AND IN GERMAN who all, unsurprisingly, gave natural selection as the basis of their advocacy for everything from coerced and then forced sterilization and, as a final resort, killing people. As seen in the correspondence mentioned above, Darwin obviously rejected the more "moderate" means of doing that, even when the only alternative he, himself, gave was violent and deadly and genocidal struggle for existence.
I got into this as a supporter of American style liberalism and a conventional believer in evolution, I remain a believer in evolution, though a total skeptic of Natural Selection and an even more convinced and, I think, clearer advocate of American liberalism. Darwin and his inner circle were certainly not liberals in the traditional American use of the word. You can't be a believer in egalitarian democracy and a eugenicist and you can't be an American liberal without believing in egalitarian democracy. Any confusion on that point can only end up discrediting liberals.
The language of the Darwinists, beginning with Darwin and immediately after through Thomas Huxley, Ernst Haeckle and others and the language of Nazism is remarkably similar. Struggle for existence, survival of the fittest, There really is no room in a belief that Natural Selection is a vitally relevant force at work on the human species for any other kind of talk. It will always end up with someone's elimination being proposed and, when it will, "moderate" means fail, their murder will be the only alternative. That's what history shows happens in real life as opposed to academic abstraction.
Andrew Hill (Piano)
Richard Davis (Bass)
Anthony Williams (Drums)
Eric Dolphy (Flute, Alto Saxophone, Bass Clarinet)
Kenny Dorham (Trumpet)
Joe Henderson (Tenor Saxophone)
I'm really excited, I got my copy of Andrew Hill: 21 Piano Compositions. I'm really going to need it to get through the next little while. I'll take whatever refuges there are, right now.
Update: I haven't read it yet but while I was looking for the link to the publishers listing, I came across this dissertation AN ANALYSIS OF SELECTED IMPROVISATIONS BY ANDREW HILL AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF PROGRESSIVE JAZZ PIANO, 1959-2005. It's got some transcriptions of improvisations by the great Andrew Hill, one of the most neglected giants of American music.
This is a confession. I was cleaning up some old computer files when I came across some hate mail sent to me after one of my posts about the relationship of Darwinism, that is natural selection, to the eugenics of the Nazis. And when someone talks about the eugenics of the Nazis, it is inevitable that you are talking about the industrialized murder as racial and national biological purification and economic efficiency.
The accusation in the old piece of hate mail was due to me having made my one and only citation of the scholar of the topic, Richard Weikart. I cited him because he had provided a latter that Charles Darwin sent to the law professor at the University of Zurich, Heinrich Fick. Fick had sent an essay of his to Charles Darwin in which he applied Darwin's natural selection to make the claim that military policy which selected the fittest young men to fight in wars and which exempted those who were unfit led to the fittest being more at risk of dying without leaving offspring and the "unfit" remaining alive to cause the dysgenesis of their nation through their presumably "unfit" children. It was hardly a huge jump from Darwin's original exposition of natural selection to proposals for changing legal policy and such practices.
July 26  Down Beckenham, Kent Dear Sir I am much obliged for your kindness in having sent me your essay, which I have read with very great interest. Your view of the daughters of short-lived parents inheriting property at an early age, and thus getting married with its consequences, is an original and quite new idea to me. — So would have been what you say about soldiers, had I not read an article published about a year ago by a German (name forgotten just at present) [Fick identified him as H. Richter] who takes nearly the same view with yours, and thus accounts for great military nations having had a short existence. I much wish that you would sometimes take occasion to discuss an allied point, if it holds good on the continent,—namely the rule insisted on by all our Trades-Unions, that all workmen,—the good and bad, the strong and weak,—sh[oul]d all work for the same number of hours and receive the same wages. The unions are also opposed to piece-work,—in short to all competition. I fear that Cooperative Societies, which many look at as the main hope for the future, likewise exclude competition. This seems to me a great evil for the future progress of mankind. — Nevertheless under any system, temperate and frugal workmen will have an advantage and leave more offspring than the drunken and reckless.— With my best thanks for the interest which I have received from your Essay, and with my respect, I remain, Dear Sir Yours faithfully Ch. Darwin As Weikart pointed out in the article in which he introduced the letter into the, then current discussion of Darwin's relationship with social Darwinism and eugenics, though the letter had been previously cited in relatively obscure German scholarship, it was unknown to the current English language discourse on the matter. He also points out that its existence made it far more difficult to claim that part of the post-war plaster St. Charles Darwin myth, that he was entirely innocent of holding social Darwinian views and promoting them*.
The hate mail I received didn't refute anything that Weikart said in the article, it condemned my citation of him due to him working through The Discovery Institute as well as being a profesor of history at the California State University, Stanislaus. It's my observation of those who try to give Weikart the cooties that they leave out his working for the Uof C system.
I read the Wikipedia citation used to condemn Weikart to the status of a banned scholar, not to be cited, and read the piece it cited to declare him "controversial". The piece, Does Science Education Need The History of Science makes the declaration:
What can historians of science do to counter this clear misuse of history? Somewhat perversely, much of our community has remained silent over the past decade while antievolutionists have publicly twisted historical fact regarding Haeckel. It took three biologists to set the record straight in 2005. They explicitly made the point that Darwin did not in fact rely on Haeckel but, rather, on information taken from the antievolutionary Karl von Baer...
[ I am going to break in at this point and say anyone who claimed that Darwin didn't rely on Haeckel for much of what he claimed about the action of and implications of natural selection in the human species is either guilty of the grossest negligence in reading what Darwin, himself, in his major work on that very topic, natural selection as it concerns human beings, The Decent of Man, said, In that work, in which he not only repeatedly credits Haeckel's work with the most effusive of glowing citations - even on such topics as the desirability of allegedly eugenic infanticide and the extinction of human groupings - but in his introduction he said:
This last naturalist,[Ernst Haeckel] besides his great work, 'Generelle Morphologie' (1866), has recently (1868, with a second edition in 1870), published his 'Naturliche Schopfungsgeschichte,' in which he fully discusses the genealogy of man. If this work had appeared before my essay had been written, I should probably never have completed it. Almost all the conclusions at which I have arrived I find confirmed by this naturalist, whose knowledge on many points is much fuller than mine. Wherever I have added any fact or view from Prof. Haeckel's writings, I give his authority in the text; other statements I leave as they originally stood in my manuscript, occasionally giving in the foot-notes references to his works, as a confirmation of the more doubtful or interesting points.
You could only claim that Darwin hadn't relied, very heavily on Haeckel if you either neglected to read the foremost document you would have to have read to make any credible claim on the matter or you would have had to lie about what Charles Darwin, himself, said on that topic, repeatedly throughout the book.
Now back to the paper.]
...They further noted that the creationists “are deeply confused or intentionally confusing regarding the history and significance of this well-known field.” This preoccupation with Haeckel is taken a stage further by Richard Weikart, a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute, the leading organization promoting and funding the dissemination of intelligent design. In his provocatively titled From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany, Weikart implicitly indicts Darwin and Haeckel for acts that occurred long after their deaths. In line with older creationist claims, we are asked to reject modern scientific theories because of how older versions of these theories were misused. Unlike the claims regarding Haeckel’s embryology, Weikart’s claims regarding a lineage from Darwin to Hitler via Haeckel have been examined by historians of science and indeed have generally been found lacking. Numerous reviews have accused Weikart of selectively viewing his rich primary material, ignoring political, social, psychological, and economic factors that may have played key roles in the post-Darwinian development of Nazi eugenics and racism. Since there is no clear and unique line from Darwinian naturalism to Nazi atrocities, useful causal relationships are difficult to infer; thus, as Robert J. Richards observes, “it can only be a tendentious and dogmatically driven assessment that would condemn Darwin for the crimes of the Nazis.”
The fact is that Robert Richards is far more a revisionist of history than Richard Weikart, his attempted rehabilitation of Ernst Haeckel far more fits the accusations than does Weikart's work. The best proof of that is what I've always advocated people do CHECK THE CLAIMS OF SCHOLARS AGAINST WHAT THE PRIMARY DOCUMENTATION ACTUALLY SAYS. The inescapable fact is that by the 1870s Haeckel was using natural selection in advocacy of people being killed with claims that the effects of that murder was beneficial for the survivors - those who would do the killing. That is the basic act of all genocide, including that of the Nazis. Haeckel did an enormous part to introduce that idea into German intellectual life and more generally into German language popular culture. THE FACT IS THAT WE KNOW CHARLES DARWIN KNEW THAT BECAUSE HE CITED HAECKEL TO MAKE THE SAME CLAIMS IN THE DESCENT OF MAN.
There is something really rather funny about the accusation in this paper against Weikart in that before the section I just quoted it complains.
There is a long— but poorly evidenced—tradition of claiming, for example, that Karl Marx and Friedrich Nietzsche were followers of Darwin...
If they had bothered to look at Weikart's dissertation "Socialist Darwinism" they would have read a far more nuanced view of the very complex, hardly uniformly supportive, but very real relationship that Marx and Engels had with Darwinism, presented in great detail by Weikart. While you get the feeling that the authors of the critique yearn for a simple, black or white reading of that history, it is far more complex and nuanced than is convenient for them. Ironically, for them, Weikart notes in detail that the use of Darwinism by Marxists as a general support of their materialism ** (though not so much Marx) wasn't generally biological, they rejected the very Malthusianism that Darwinism is founded on.
Weikart also noted that Darwin, Haeckel and other member of the Darwin inner circle, like Thomas Huxley certainly didn't return any compliments that many socialists of various kinds and Marxists gave them in the general support for materialism they took from natural selection. I read Weikart's dissertation last month and found it was excellently supported and reasoned and entirely balanced and fair in its claims and conclusions, not at all like the paper used to condemn Weikart, or, in fact, much of any of the effort to distance Charles Darwin from the terrible history of application of his theory to real people.
If you want to read what Weikart wrote about the links between Charles Darwin' theory and the line of German thinking that began, almost immediately, to associate natural selection with advocacy of genocide, you can read his paper Progress through Racial Extermination: Social Darwinism, Eugenics, and Pacifism in Germany, 1860-1918, which, among other things, explains the "pacifism" of the very same Haeckel who, throughout his career advocated the murder of large numbers of human beings and the salubrious effects of that genocide. Something which Charles Darwin also presented as science in The Descent of Man, citing Ernst Haeckel to strengthen his arguments.*** If you want to distance Darwin from Haeckel, you've got the insurmountable mountain range of his citations of Haeckel AS SCIENCE, his correspondence with him (citing it in full, not the typical Darwin industry cherry-picking and clipping) the testimony of those in the English speaking Darwin circle, including his own sons who noted the close relationship and even friendship of Darwin and Haeckel and just about all of the primary evidence. And not only those links with German eugenics and calls for genocide, but others such as are documented in primary sources, such as those Weikart cites.
Charles Darwin didn't even have to know, know about or even be alive for his theory of natural selection to have been the inspiration of specific eugenic proposals, either through forced or coerced sterilization or even by actual legalized murder, all anyone has to do to make that connection is to cite natural selection as supporting their eugenics. They don't even have to cite Charles Darwin by name but merely the idea he created and promoted that it was scientific fact that the deaths of anyone deemed to be a lesser specimen of humanity before they could have children was generally beneficial for society at large and the surviving population. In that scheme of things the survivors will include those who plan and carry out that murder - in fact their success in doing so is one of the traits of their superiority. If they were inferior they would not succeed and would be the ones killed. That is Darwinism as applied to the human species.
If you want to turn a scholar like Weikart into a banned person who can't be cited, you have to do so on the actual basis of their scholarship and their citations, not on a general claim that it is "controversial" or claimed to be such by clearly ideologically motivated ginners up of such "controversy". I'm not going to play that game, anymore. Not even if someone works at the Discovery Institute. If we were to blackball all scholars based on their employing institutions having unsavory associations, I'd have to give up citing people who work at places like MIT and the University of Chicago, Harvard and Yale. With its association with Trump, The University of Pennsylvania would be suspect. The direct links between Nazi eugenics and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory are undeniable. Should anyone who is associated with it be intellectual kryptonite too?
I chickened-out on that account in the past, I'm done with it now.
* It's also a fact that such an assertion has to ignore Charles Darwin's own assertion that natural selection was identical to the Spencerian formula "survival of the fittest" from the 5th edition of Origin of Species. It is also noteworthy that that Darwin says he was urged to make that clarification by the man often credited as the "co-discoverer" of natural selection, Alfred Russell Wallace, giving Wallaces' letter to him on that point.
** Thomas Huxley may have been an even earlier advocate of the idea that natural selection would inevitably lead to genocide and that the effects of that genocide for the survivors - in his case he explicitly said those would be white people who benefited from the slaughter of former slaves - would be entirely beneficial. His argument was based on the economic utility of slaves and how, with a loss of that economic value to white people, they had no reason to keep them alive. It's a really peculiar, viciously racist version of "white-mans' burden" and an encouragement to throw it aside through murder, all based on natural selection.
*** In the book Darwin cited most heavily in Descent of Man, Haeckel's Naturliche Schopfungsgeschichte, Haeckel prominently and repeatedly credits Charles Darwin and his theory of natural selection with the "final triumph" of the materialist monism which Haeckel shared with the very Marxists and many (though hardly all) of the socialists he despised. Darwin nowhere in anything have ever read of him objected to Haeckel having credited him with that final confirmation of materialist totalism. As Weikart notes, Darwin, Haeckle and Huxley all rejected socialist and, later Marxist economics, in fact the evidence would indicate that they even rejected egalitarian democracy on the same basis of natural selection. Haeckel explicitly stating that rejection, Thomas Huxley explicitly doing the same and Charles Darwin's declaration to Haeckel that he agreed with everything he said in his "Freedom in Science and Teaching" where he made that declaration.
I think the logical case is that you can't believe that natural selection is the basis of evolution while also believing in egalitarian democracy. That rejection of egalitarian democracy is certainly more in line with the actual history of Darwinism than the conveniently held logical disconnect that asserts the ideas are compatible, the currently held conventional dogma of dishonest Darwinist discourse.
I'm still feeling poorly. What's going around here is really bad. I'm really worried about my extremely, morbidly obese neighbor (I'd guess she might weigh at least 500 lb). She's got it and looks like she's at death's door. I'm the one who regularly checks up on her. I'm afraid of her collapsing when I'm alone with her, I wouldn't be able to do much but stay with her till the ambulance came and I'm not sure they could handle her. I don't even know what to tell them if I have to call. Should I tell them how big she is? I think I have to. I really hate what the corporate food industry and media has done to this country almost as much as I hate what the alcohol, tobacco and fire arms industries have done to it. Our legal system leaves us at their mercy, allowing them to exploit our weaknesses and appetites, scientifically trying to determine how best to get around our morality and reason. TV is in on it too.
DiegoVan Anthony McCarthy • 21 hours ago
The problem of controlling free speech is always, who will decide.
The courts and politicial theorists have decided that it is better to leave it alone and not control it in the way you say. Who will decide what are lies? What will be the penalties?
Our society, thank goodness, has decided that any harm caused by lying is not worth the greater damage caused by the curtailment of speech. There are libel and slander laws. Why aren't they good enough?
I find it ironic that the left, the traditional supporters of free speech, have come out against it in recent years. The left would similar support to what I am offering you, now.
BTW, would you mind posting some of the lies you think would need to be controlled or outlawed?
Do you think Hillary and the DNC lied in the released emails? Should their speech be curtailed? What about Benghazi? Did Clinton lie about that? Did Donna Brazile lie about leaking debate questions? Would they be prosecuted?
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Anthony McCarthy DiegoVan • 2 minutes ago
Judges are tasked with deciding that all the time. The very media people who push that lie, that the lie can't be distinguished from the truth, would be the first to go to court if they thought their vendible scribblege had been cribbed by someone else. Judges are asked by the beneficiaries of "free-speech-free-press" to punish the people who pilfer their "intellectual" property all the time. About the only real sin for them is plagiarism. Plagiarism will get you banished in the way that the most consequential lies won't in the American media and academic world.
Lying is what brought us Nixon, his continuation of Vietnam and its expansion into Cambodia, Reagan and his terror campaigns in Central America, the middle east and elsewhere, George W. Bush and the illegal, catestrophic invasion of Iraq. How many millions of sacrificial victims does your alter of free-speech absolutism require per decade?
Donna Brazile? Really, that's what you're going to use in this argument? You, sir, are not a serious person, you are a dolt of the kind who populate the American media.
The Supreme Court pretty much exempted even the most monumental lies told against, mostly liberal, politicians from having any consequences. Thus the quarter of a century of lies Hillary Clinton had to run against, in opposition to one of the biggest liars in the world whose lies had been carried by and magnified by the freest-press in the world.